Cilantro aka coriander is a versatile herb from the same family as parsley. It can be found in most regions of the world.
The leaves as well as the seeds are traditionally used in cooking and have a distinctive aroma, which is pleasing to the senses.
Cilantro is a staple in Asian and Mexican cooking; commonly found in dishes such as guacamole, salsa, chutney, salads.
Cilantro is also used as part of marinades for meat and seafood dishes and garnishing in a lot of dishes.
What Are the Benefits of Cilantro?
Though some people think cilantro tastes like soap for some reason, there are great health benefits associated with it:
- Cilantro is low on calories – roughly 23 calories per handful. Use as much as you want to without fear of unwelcome weight gain.
- Cilantro leaves and stem are rich in antioxidants.
- Cilantro is rich in minerals such as iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium and manganese.
- Cilantro contains a lot of vitamins essential to better hair growth such as vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, niacin, riboflavin and folic acid.
- Cilantro is one of the richest sources of vitamin K, an essential vitamin to bone health and formation.
Can You Eat Raw Cilantro?
Yes, you can. Just make sure it has been rinsed and cleaned properly before adding it to dishes. It’s delicious shredded over salads, salsa and guacamole.
You can eat the stems as well as the leaves by the way. The stems are tender and full of flavour as well.
Is Coriander and Cilantro the Same Thing?
Coriander and cilantro are from the same plant but the name is used interchangeably depending on what region of the world you’re in.
The word “coriander” is more commonly used in Europe and North America while it’s referred to as “cilantro” in Asia and Spanish speaking countries.
Feel free to call it whichever word you like but they are the same thing so don’t get confused when a recipe uses the word you’re unfamiliar with.
How to Make Cilantro Oil
- 2 packed cups of cilantro leaves (including stems)
- 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), extra virgin coconut oil (EVCO) or sesame seed oil
- 1 medium jalapeno (chopped). This is optional but it elevates the taste so much more
- 1 garlic clove (chopped)
- Bring a pot of water to a boil then add the cilantro to the water. All the leaves should be submerged.
- Blanch for 5 minutes then remove and submerge the leaves in a bowl of very cold water.
- Wait about a minute then strain and set aside.
- Pour the blanched cilantro in a blender then add the oil you’re using and blend into a fine puree. Add the chopped jalapeno and garlic clove and blend again.
- Strain through a fine mesh. Taste and add salt if required then pour the cilantro oil into an airtight jar.
- Store in the refrigerator and use within 2 weeks.
You can also try a different oil if you feel like experimenting and see what the end result tastes like.
What is Cilantro Oil Used For?
- You can use cilantro oil in any kind of marinade.
- A little bit can be added to butter to it into a herby delight.
- Cilantro oil can be used as a dressing for salads or as a flavour infuser in rice and pasta dishes.
- You can also top avocado toast and flatbreads with cilantro oil.
- You can drizzle over any kind of soup.
Use cilantro oil sparingly as 1 tablespoon packs a punch of taste. A fresh batch should be kept in the fridge no longer than 2 weeks. Afterwards, discard and make a fresh batch if necessary.
You can find a video for making your own herbal oils HERE. The method in the video can be applied to pretty much every herb out there.
Fresh cilantro can be purchased at low prices from any grocery store or roadside fruit and vegetable stand.
You can also grow it yourself with something like the Click and Grow Smart Garden.
Cilantro oil is different from cilantro essential oil. Do not ingest cilantro essential oil.